Home is a Journey

Irene Joan Marais


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In 1958 three brothers and two ladies embarked on a road trip of a lifetime. Travelling for four months, starting in Cape Town across Africa through Europe and finishing in London in a VW Kombi, they got to see and do things that most people will never get the chance to. It was a foolhardy trip, with the most inappropriate and basic of equipment by modern standards, yet the pioneer spirit, companionship, raw tenacity and finding of a soul mate saw them overcoming all obstacles. This book is the daily diary account by 26-year-old Joan as she describes her maiden voyage of sights, companions and recounts the numerous travelling challenges detailing an era long gone.


Irene Joan Marais:
Joan was born in 1932 in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Her family settled in George, Western Cape. She was the eldest of three daughters. Tragically, she lost her youngest sister and her father before she turned 18. Always an adventurous, sporting, fun-loving individual, she embarked on this trip and so began a life-long adventure with her soulmate and co-traveller, Carel. They married in London seven months after beginning the trip and eventually raised a family in South Africa. Joan never wrote a book but was a life-long prolific letter writer. After her passing in 2018, her daughter, Louise, put together the stories of this trip, the photographs and the diary to share this inspirational journey. Louise currently lives in Perth, Australia, with her daughter and son.